September 2020 Newsletter

In This Issue

Letter from the Chair: Derailed Dreams Do Come True

Loice A. Swisher, MD FAAEM
Chair, WiEM Section

Waking up Saturday afternoon after my Friday night shift, I was greeted by a stunning bouquet of flowers. My boss sent a floral congratulatory display for my promotion to the academic rank of Clinical Professor in Emergency Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. It felt good. It was a gracious gesture and a tangible recognition of a three-decade pursuit, which, at times, felt an unrecoverable lost dream. Although I had started my career with an academic focus, circumstances placed me at a community hospital in which no emergency medicine physician had ever been promoted to the academic rank of professor. In addition, only one woman had ever been promoted to professor of emergency medicine in the entire history of the department. Yet, it was possible even with a derailed path, from the community, without a path before me.

I don’t want congratulations. I want to be a guide and supporter for others. I want to be able to write letters of promotion for other women reaching for a professor level. I want to make this path from community emergency medicine so others will realize it can be done. I want to make the seemingly impossible lost dream possible. I want to help sponsor and support the pipeline of the next generation.

I am using my Chair position in two ways to do this right now. The first is to share my 10 steps for promotions below. We can help more women attain higher academic ranks.

The second is to establish an AAEM WiEM Section Leadership Pipeline. We must identify those who have interest in leadership within the Women in EM Section and AAEM in general. We must support them by giving them opportunities and skills. We must listen to their needs and find solutions.

We can do this!


Loice A. Swisher, MD FAAEM
Chair, AAEM Women in EM Section
Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine
Drexel University College of Medicine
pronouns- any, name preferred

Ten Steps for Promotions

  1. Ascertain if you are eligible for an academic rank even if you are not based at the home academic institution. Those who teach medical students and residents even at a community affiliate may receive clinical academic titles and may seek promotions. This likely will require submitting a form.
  2. Obtain your institution’s Appointments and Promotions packet to familiarize yourself with the requirements and timeline. Usually this is online.
  3. Develop a mentoring relationship with someone knowledgeable with the promotions process. At some places this may be easy as there may be a departmental faculty development office or there are others the next rank within your department. In fact, some might be assigned a mentor for regular progress reviews. If not, the academic institution will have an office of faculty affairs or faculty development that can provide guidance. In addition, those outside one’s home institution can give assistance.
  4. Create a plan to meet the requirements for the next rank. For those that teach, development of an educational portfolio including mentoring can be useful to document teaching excellence.
  5. Put your CV in your institution’s mandated format. Make it a habit to update your CV at regular intervals or immediately when something new should be added.
  6. Know how many letters you will need in support of your promotion as well as how this list is generated. Both internal (to the institution) and external letters are usually required. These may be “arms length” or “working” contacts.
  7. Strategize research and publications. Attention to the number and type of publications needed. Some places will consider social media scholarship and others not so much. Forging relationships with others who have similar interests can foster scholarly activity.
  8. Determine if institutional or professional service is mandated or desired. Examples would include membership or chairing hospital committees or positions in regional or national professional organizations. If not, time may be better allotted in other pursuits. If so, ask about options.
  9. Consider your personal statement. This may or may not be required, however, it is a useful mechanism to think about one’s career passions and direction. It is focusing in your mind eye the way you want others to see your professional course.
  10. Arrange a meeting with your departmental chair to identify gaps and assure the promotional trajectory.

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WiEM Section Leadership Pipeline Interest Form

We would like to provide more leadership opportunities and skills development for our AAEM Women in EM Section members. The first step is to identify those who have interest in these opportunities so we can create mentorship and programs. If you think you are interested in the WiEM Section or AAEM leadership pathways now or in the future, please complete this form.

Interest Form

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Member Spotlight: Angela Carrick, DO FACOEP FACEP

It is my pleasure to highlight our AAEM WiEM Section member Dr. Angie Carrick.

Dr. Carrick is a relative newcomer to AAEM. She is the APD of the Norman Regional EM Residency Program in Norman, Oklahoma.

Drs. Carrick and Swisher met years ago at the Resilience Committee at CORD. Dr. Carrick showed up to attend a lecture about the first National Suicide Awareness Day. The content and message felt personal - and from that day forward, she was able to disseminate knowledge of risk factors of physician suicide. Looking back upon her own time in residency, she realized that she had been a physician at risk during residency training. The three main triggers for physician suicide were omnipresent during residency. 1) She was isolated from her usual support group, 2) in residency we can become desensitized to death, and 3) feelings of self-doubt such as “I am not good enough” can lead to a feeling of being a burden to others.

In addition to her membership in multiple national and regional professional societies, Dr. Carrick is the current Chair of the CORD National Physician Suicide Awareness Day and the Chair of the ACOEP Women’s Committee. Her message to her trainees and colleagues is now: “It's okay to struggle. Everyone struggles. It is important to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It’s okay not to be okay - and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.” When she became a faculty member, she introduced a wellness agenda into the residency curriculum and feels that she has been able to improve the quality and support for her trainees.

A question I like to ask of our featured members is - what would you feel would be your marker of success in your career? She responded that she hopes to continue to be a positive role model for her trainees and her family of three young boys. She has been able to improve the residency experience for those behind her and that has been a great triumph of success and has brought joy to her career. Over the next decade, she hopes to continue to pave the way to sponsor and mentor other women.

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Virtual Mentoring Sessions for IMGs

September 23, 2020 | 8:00pm ET

IMGs face unique obstacles when it comes to matching in emergency medicine residencies, including stigma, immigration issues, and limited access to emergency medicine mentors. The goal of this series is to address some of these specific issues, offer advice and a pathway for mentorship, and provide representation of IMGs who have successfully transitioned into careers as US EM physicians. September’s topic is “Finding a Program.”

This month’s panelists:

  • Mary Ann Edens, MD FAAEM
    Program Director of LSU Health Emergency Medicine Residency
  • Kanika Gupta, MD
    Program Director of the Nazareth Emergency Medicine Residency
  • Jordan Vaughn, MD (PGY-2)
    Louisiana State University Emergency Medicine Residency
  • Nahal Nikroo, MD (PGY-1)
    Nuvance Health Emergency Medicine Residency
  • Alexander Kuc, MD

Moderated by Joelle Brown (4th year SGU) and Dr. Sara Misthal (WiEM Section Councilor and SGU graduate).

Sessions are open to members of AAEM WiEM Section who register prior to the event. (Hes for Shes are welcome to join the WiEM Section!).

Register Today


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WiEM Section Town Hall Council Meeting

October 13, 2020 | 8pm ET

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020 come meet virtually the first AAEM Women in Emergency Medicine Section (WiEM) Council. We would like you to know who we are and what we are doing for the Section. We will share our vision, explain the AMWA benefit, and discuss new initiatives.

In addition, we would like you to meet the leadership of our three working groups (Advocacy, Education, and Leadership) and hear their plans. There will be another call for working group membership after the Town Hall. This would be a great way to find out if one may be right for you. 

We hope to see you there!

WiEM Section Council

Register Today

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November Airway Storytelling Event

November 12, 2020 | 8:00pm ET

We all have stories to tell. They are sometimes funny or inappropriate or heartbreaking. Others affirm our decision to become doctors in the first place. Join the WiEM Section virtual storytelling event that promises to showcase the great range of human experience — to enlighten minds, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome the challenges we all face each day. If you have a great tale to tell, please complete the form below.

Submit a Topic

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Monthly featured AMWA Initiative

AMWA is leading an initiative to have each state’s medical board examine their licensure application to become compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and to support physician mental health. Although approximately half the states have acceptable language, half do not. Champions are needed in those states to address the medical boards. For those whose states already comply, the next step is to address each individual institutions credentialing process verifying compliance… or to effect change. Visit the AMWA website for more information.

Learn More

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Workplace Suicide Prevention Badge

Women physicians die at their own hand at a greater rate than the general population. It is thought that we learn lethal means through our profession. The COVID pandemic has highlighted the mental stress on frontline health care workers - particularly women. This should not continue. As leaders we can stand up for culture change and reduce stigma. The WiEM Section Council voted to “publicly pledge to make suicide prevention a health and safety priority in our professional organization by endorsing the National Guidelines for Workplace Suicide Prevention.” Let us learn to make our workplaces safer for all of us.

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